UPDATE: A Lamar County jury found Bryan Lynch guilty of indecency with a child by sexual contact and guilty of aggravated assault of a child shortly after 5 p.m. today, following an hour and a half of deliberation. The punishment phase of the trial to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday.
The state’s case against a Roxton man charged with child sexual abuse might not hold up if the memory of the alleged victim fails to improve.
“I don’t remember,” a 15-year-old Mesquite teenager repeatedly answered when questioned about details of alleged actions in September 2017 by her stepfather. Bryan Lynch, 39, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by sexual contact.
Testimony in the case began Tuesday afternoon at the Lamar County Courthouse after the trial was postponed Monday morning due to a failed suicide attempt at the Lamar County Jail, where Lynch has been incarcerated since Jan. 3 on a $100,000 bond.
During opening statements, prosecutor Jill Drake of the Lamar County District Attorney’s Office told jurors Lynch took pills in an effort “to delay the start of this trial.”
After roughly an hour, Drake interrupted the teen’s testimony and asked for a recess to allow the witness to review statements she made to a forensic interviewer at a Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.
Sixth District Judge Wes Tidwill dismissed the jury at 3:30 p.m., and scheduled the trial to resume at 9 a.m. today.
During testimony, the teen said she suffers from anxiety “because of all this,” is in counseling and has “voluntary short-term memory loss.” At one point, she said the accused “acted basically stupid and raped me” but when asked about details replied, “I don’t remember.”
During pointed questioning, the witness testified to an incident in a recliner, claiming the defendant forced her to inappropriately touch him.
“I felt scared,” she said, replying to a question about how she felt at the time. To another question about why she did not tell her mother, she said: “He threatened to kill my family… I believed him … He carried a gun and knife at all times.”
The witness, however, became evasive during a line of questioning about another incident that reportedly occurred after she took a shower in a bathroom adjacent to the master bedroom in the family’s home. The teen, her mother and brother left Lamar County to live with grandparents in Mesquite in the fall of 2017 after the earlier alleged incidents.
“I don’t remember,” she repeated replied to questioning.
When Drake asked the teenager what she told the Dallas-based interviewer, she said she didn’t remember. Drake then requested the recess.
Lamar County District Attorney Gary Young prepared jurors for upcoming testimony by asking the state’s first witness, Detective Lt. Johnathan Smith of the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office, questions about child sexual abuse investigations and how children and families often react.
Young also questioned Smith about the reaction of “extraneous victims” who may have had a similar experience with a defendant. This line of questioning reinforced an earlier reference when Drake told jurors during opening statements to expect the testimony of “three other women who will testify he molested them as children.”
Paris attorney Nick Stallings represents the defense in the case.